Bullet train is a high-speed train that is shaped like a bullet. Bullet trains are streamlined so that they can travel faster. Electrically powered bullet trains offer amazing benefits: a quiet, high-speed mode of mass transportation with low environmental dangers.
Usually, a bullet train’s body has a long nose and a circular shape that offers higher aerodynamic performance and less noise. Many other designs were newly devised to reduce environmental dangers and to increase passenger comfort. For example, wing-shaped frames make much less noise than traditionally-shaped ones, and aluminium panels for the wall and floor sections of the car body help reduce the noise in cabins because the material has low sound transmissivity.
In Japan, bullet trains are known as Shinkansen, the world’s first truly high speed locomotive. Japan’s train travel offers the fastest point to point service of any rail line in the world. But the best addition of the trains in Japan is not their sheer speed, but their frequency. There are about six train stops in an hour; therefore you’re never be late for your train and be just early for the next one.
In France, the TGV train is a speed record holder. It has achieved the high speed world record of 320 mph, 515 km/h. The name ‘Train à Grande Vitesse’ translated into English means high speed train.
The TGV averages a speed of 254.5 km/h or 158 mph, the second highest scheduled speed in the world. Still other TGV services often have very high average speeds often over 200 km/h or 125 mph. So, you can truly realise how fast these trains are when compared with the general average speed of a car which is 45 mph or 72 km/h. Since bullet trains are effective way of transportation, being that it is fast, almost noiseless, non-polluting, and luxurious, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the first bullet train in India for Ahmedabad-Mumbai link covering 534 km at about 300 km/h speed.
Embracing the idea of bullet trains means the Railways will rid itself of a lobby that has always advocated enhancing train speed with minor changes.
In 2009, Railways’ Vision 2020 document reiterated the need for high-speed rail corridors. But the wide range of speed – 250 km to 350 km an hour – for the proposed bullet trains cast doubts if they would stay true to character. The fastest train in India now is the Shatabdi, which runs at 140 km/h. The record was previously held by Rajdhani Express, which clocks a speed of upto 130 km/h.
The Rajdhani was unveiled in 1969, five years after Japan introduced Shinkansen, the world’s first bullet train that ran at 240 km/h, at that time. The world has moved on, with France, Spain, China, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Japan too boosting trains that zip at 300 km/h. India, in sharp contrast, has been stuck in a time wrap for decades. Bullet trains (or high-speed rail) are very efficient in resource utilisation, be it time, money, land or energy. The lower limit of the proposed high-speed rail is about 300 km/h, which is much higher than the allowed road speed limit in India.
Moreover, High-speed rail can accommodate more passengers at far higher speeds than automobiles. A typical passenger rail carries 2.83 times as many passengers per hour per metre width as a road.
Generally, the longer the journey, the better the time advantage of rail over road if going to the same destination. However, high-speed rail can also be competitive with cars on shorter distances, 0-150 km (0-90 mile), for example for commuting, given road congestion or expensive parking fees. The high-speed rail is among the most environment friendly and energy efficient system of mass transportation systems. It should be noted that high-speed rail has the lowest GHG (Green House Gas) emission of all types of passenger rail transport.
By reducing the number of vehicles on the ground, and using more efficient means of mass public and freight transport, high-speed rails help directly reduce the carbon footprint. Moreover, nothing empowers people and businesses like infrastructure does. All countries that India wants to compete with in the global market are investing heavily in their infrastructure. They also have the same focus that PM Modi has referred to, namely Skill, Scale and Speed.
In many countries, e.g. Germany and China, high-speed-railways share tracks with freight trains. This can help move around goods faster. Even if the tracks are not shared, the high-speed network will free capacity for rail freight on the conventional network. As more goods are moving faster, it helps the common man by bringing down the prices, and empower businesses to scale and speed.